Category Archives: Uncategorized

Research in English II Session #4: October 16th, 2009

Illustration of a scribe writing
Image via Wikipedia
  1. Review of basic rules of English writing:
    1. simple sentence 5 conditions: capital letter, subject, verb, period, space.
    2. complex sentences + common errors (fragments, run-ons, and comma splices)
    3. the nature of the paragraph – unity, grouping of sentences, topic sentence, major supports, transitions.
    4. the nature of the essay (according to Andy Gillett) –made up of several paragraphs; introduction, main body, conclusion; all written about one main topic; needs to have a clear purpose; “you should present ideas you have learned but in your own words, and say something for yourself about the subject; the ideas and people you refer to must be made explicit by a system of referencing.”  (c.f. Using English for Academic Purposes: A Guide for Students in Higher Education )
  2. Discuss your answers to the questions on page 29
  3. Discuss your questions and answers on page 31
  4. Listen and read page 32 and answer the questions in the textbook.
  5. Conduct a class survey, using the questions on page 29.

HOMEWORK:

  1. Your Australian movie reports are due next week.
    1. Movie report: write a report about an Australian movie. The movie must be about Australia (not just filmed there).
      1. See a list of movies that students reported about in the spring semester here
      2. You will read your report aloud to the class (same as in the first semester).
      3. Your report should include some research about the movie, e.g. about the history or area of Australia which the movie is about, also critical reviews or interesting reviews by people on Amazon.
      4. Your report must show me (the instructor) that
        1. you have seen the movie (not just copied your friend’s notes)
        2. you have understood the key points of the movie
        3. you have thought about the movie (is it good? is it useful to learn about Australia?), i.e. you have an opinion about it
        4. you can express your opinion in English
        5. you can use the MLA style for references.
      5. Your report MUST INCLUDE the following information:
        1. movie title (in both English and Japanese)
        2. movie director’s name and the names of the main actors and actresses and the characters they play
        3. date the movie was made
        4. the company that made and distributed the movie
        5. a summary of the story (key points only)
      6. This information MUST BE WRITTEN USING MLA STYLE (see the handout from session #3)
      7. Your handout should include the title of the movie and other key information, and some brief notes and pictures that will make your presentation more interesting. (The information in the handout does not have to be in complete sentences.)
      8. The report is due Friday October 23rd.
  2. Make a blog for your writing in this class, so you can share your thoughts and ideas with other students. Watch this video on how to create a blog in less than 5 minutes. (On the right side of this blog, you can see a list of blogs that my Interactive Writing I students made in the spring semester. Check them out!)
  3. Read the slideshows about paragraph writing and summarising:
    1. slideshow #1
    2. slideshow #2
    3. slideshow #3
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Express your opinion! Let me know what you think of today's class, the written materials, the activities, the teacher's lecture, etc. Have a question about English or about today's class? Click the words "Leave a comment" below, or send me an email. Thank you for visiting.

Research in English II Session #3: October 9th, 2009

TOKYO - FEBRUARY 26:  (L to R) Director Baz Lu...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife
  1. Editing symbols worksheet
  2. Complex sentences worksheet (run-ons, fragments, comma splices)
  3. List of editing symbols (for your reference)
  4. Textbook page 30 (reading and listening)
  5. Writing (on looseleaf):
    1. have you homeschooled?
    2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling?
    3. Do you think compulsory education is a good idea? Why/why not?
    4. Handout: MLA format (for your reference)
  6. HOMEWORK:
    1. Unit 5, part 1 worksheet
    2. Movie report: write a report about an Australian movie. The movie must be about Australia (not just filmed there).
      1. See a list of movies that students reported about in the spring semester here
      2. You will read your report aloud to the class (same as in the first semester).
      3. Your report should include some research about the movie, e.g. about the history or area of Australia which the movie is about, also critical reviews or interesting reviews by people on Amazon.
      4. Your report must show me (the instructor) that
        1. you have seen the movie (not just copied your friend’s notes)
        2. you have understood the key points of the movie
        3. you have thought about the movie (is it good? is it useful to learn about Australia?), i.e. you have an opinion about it
        4. you can express your opinion in English
        5. you can use the MLA style for references.
      5. Your report MUST INCLUDE the following information:
        1. movie title (in both English and Japanese)
        2. movie director’s name and the names of the main actors and actresses and the characters they play
        3. date the movie was made
        4. the company that made and distributed the movie
        5. a summary of the story (key points only)
      6. This information MUST BE WRITTEN USING MLA STYLE (see the handout from session #3)
      7. Your handout should include the title of the movie and other key information, and some brief notes and pictures that will make your presentation more interesting. (The information in the handout does not have to be in complete sentences.)
      8. The report is due Friday October 23rd.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Express your opinion! Let me know what you think of today's class, the written materials, the activities, the teacher's lecture, etc. Have a question about English or about today's class? Click the words "Leave a comment" below, or send me an email. Thank you for visiting.

Interactive Writing Session #3: October 9th, 2009

  1. Editing symbols worksheet
  2. Complex sentences worksheet (run-ons, fragments, comma splices)
  3. List of editing symbols (reference)
  4. Read most of chapter 1 of “Little Plum”.

You will need a notebook to take notes about vocabulary, British customs, history, etc., that come up in class as we read the “Little Plum” story.

Homework:

  1. (from last week) Type a self-introduction letter using MSWord and using the letter format in the handout from last week. Send it to me by email as an attachment 添付ファイル
  2. Finish reading chapter 1.
  3. Read chapter 2 and prepare for next week:
    1. look up the words you don’t know
    2. make notes about things you learn

Today we read almost all of chapter 1 of  “Little Plum” by Rumer Godden. In order to get an image or understanding of what kind of place Britain is, if you have never been there, let’s use the Internet to do some virtual travel.

First, here are some pictures of a High Street:

  1. in Lincoln
  2. in Chelmsford in 1895 (over 100 years ago, but you see what a long history the “High Street” has)
  3. in Scunthorpe in 1973 (“Little Plum” was published in 1962, so this photo shows you what England looked like at about that time)
  4. in a pretty village called Pinner (don’t know where it is!), which shows some “listed buildings”, which means they are protected by law because they are old and beautiful,
  5. a high street in London.

What is a “market town”? It’s a town which is allowed to have a market (in the old days, the king’s permission was needed to have a market). Wikipedia tells us:

In pre-19th century England, the majority of the population made their living through agriculture and livestock farming. Most lived where they worked, with relatively few [people living] in towns. Therefore, farmers and their wives brought their produce to informal markets held after worship on the grounds of their church. Market towns were an important feature of rural life…  Market towns often grew up close to fortified places such as castles, to enjoy their protection. Framlingham in Suffolk is a notable example. Markets were located where transport was easiest, such as at a crossroads or close to a river ford. When local railway lines were first built, market towns were given priority to ease the transport of goods.

So, “market towns” are usually old towns with a history of people bringing things to the town to sell them. Here are some pictures of some market towns in England:

  1. Market Drayton
  2. Market Harborough
  3. Chipping Norton (“Chipping” comes from a Saxon verb meaning “to buy”)

Here you can see how hedges separate people’s property. Here’s a very old and pretty hedge. Here you can see how hedges are used in England to give privacy from the street, and here you can see how a hedge is used to give privacy from the neighbours.

Here’s an ilex tree, a kind of oak tree, in Chichester, UK. Maybe Belinda’s ilex is big like this? Here are some more ilex trees.

Here’s a picture of a gravel drive. This house is very old, much older than “The House Next Door”, I think.

Lawn.

  1. Here’s a picture of a house with a lawn and a hedge, and a “house next door”.
  2. Here’s another picture of a lawn and a garden, and
  3. here’s another one (this house is very old, from Shakespeare’s time!).
  4. Here’s a more modern one (notice the hedge)
  5. and another modern one in the university town of Cambridge

Some houses for sale in this photo. This house has been sold. This photographer would like to buy this house. How about you?  It has a garden, a hedge, a stream, paddocks (fields for horses)!

I found this photo of two “maiko” by searching for “little plum” on Flickr. Are these two “Miss Happiness and Miss Flower”?

The word “plum” has very different associations for English people than the word “ume” 梅 has for Japanese. Here’s a picture that shows you what many English people will think of when you say “plum”.

Express your opinion! Let me know what you think of today's class, the written materials, the activities, the teacher's lecture, etc. Have a question about English or about today's class? Click the words "Leave a comment" below, or send me an email. Thank you for visiting.

An Unexpected Visitor!

On Yahoo! UK news today is a story about a kangaroo that jumped through a window into a woman’s office. Kangaroos are shy creatures and avoid humans usually, so it is a puzzle why this kangaroo came into the building.

‘Frantic’ kangaroo smashes into Aussie office

Express your opinion! Let me know what you think of today's class, the written materials, the activities, the teacher's lecture, etc. Have a question about English or about today's class? Click the words "Leave a comment" below, or send me an email. Thank you for visiting.

Kizzy was made into a TV drama by the BBC in 1976

The Greengage Summer (1958), 1962 Pan paperbac...
Image via Wikipedia

I just discovered that Rumer Godden‘s story for children, The Diddakoi, was actually made into a TV drama by the BBC in 1976. If you go to this page, and scroll down, you can see some pictures from the original series. I have been trying to find a video or a DVD of this television drama, but so far I have been unsuccessful. I will keep trying.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Express your opinion! Let me know what you think of today's class, the written materials, the activities, the teacher's lecture, etc. Have a question about English or about today's class? Click the words "Leave a comment" below, or send me an email. Thank you for visiting.

Aborigines not getting the houses they were promised

Ayers Rock/Uluru Sunset, Uluru-Kata Tjuta Nati...
Image by digitalreflections via Flickr

According to the BBC,

A report into an ambitious housing scheme for Australia‘s Aboriginals has found that not one dwelling has been built in the year since it began.
The project aims to construct 750 homes in the Northern Territory and refurbish hundreds of others.Officials blamed “administration problems” for the delays – which prompted one minister to quit. The slow pace of this ambitious programme to help Aboriginal families almost brought down the Northern Territory government when a former minister quit in disgust at the lack of progress.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Express your opinion! Let me know what you think of today's class, the written materials, the activities, the teacher's lecture, etc. Have a question about English or about today's class? Click the words "Leave a comment" below, or send me an email. Thank you for visiting.

Madonna explains gypsy comments

Pre-1989 division between the "West"...
Image via Wikipedia

According to this BBC article, Madonna, the American pop star, made comments in support of Gypsies and against the discrimination they face during a concert in Bucharest in Romania, although she was booed by the fans for her comments. Madonna explains Gypsy comments.

Madonna has said she was “compelled” to comment on the discrimination against Romany Gypsies while on stage in Romania, despite being booed by fans. The 51-year-old was jeered by the audience in Bucharest after saying the discrimination “made me feel very sad”. ..

Madonna paused during her two-hour show to say: “It has been brought to my attention, that there is a lot of discrimination against Romanies and Gypsies in general in Eastern Europe – it made me feel very sad. We don’t believe in discrimination, we believe in freedom and equal rights for everyone.”

The star uses a group of Roma musicians on her Sticky and Sweet tour… Publicist Liz Rosenberg said… “Madonna has been touring with a phenomenal troupe of Roma musicians who made her aware of the discrimination toward them in several countries so she felt compelled to make a brief statement.”

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Express your opinion! Let me know what you think of today's class, the written materials, the activities, the teacher's lecture, etc. Have a question about English or about today's class? Click the words "Leave a comment" below, or send me an email. Thank you for visiting.

Gypsy children beg and thieve

This BBC news report tells about how Gypsy gangs use children to beg and steal money: How Gypsy gangs use child thieves

It appears to be true. It is unfortunate because a common stereotype of Gypsies is as thieves. Here, for example, is part of the Wikipedia entry on Romani:

Many fictional depictions of the Romani in literature and art present Romanticized narratives of their supposed mystical powers of fortune telling, and their supposed irascible or passionate temper paired with an indomitable love of freedom and a habit of criminality.

Here is more from the BBC article:

Madrid police say that 95% of children under 14 that they pick up stealing on the streets are Roma from Romania.

Because the age of criminal responsibility in Spain is 14, there is little they can do.

More than 1,000 Romanian Roma live in just one of the many camps that lie on the outskirts of Madrid.

The conditions are appalling – rats roam freely amid the rubbish, and there is no sanitation.

Every day children from the camp head out into the city to steal and beg, and many are beaten by their minders if they do not return with money.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Express your opinion! Let me know what you think of today's class, the written materials, the activities, the teacher's lecture, etc. Have a question about English or about today's class? Click the words "Leave a comment" below, or send me an email. Thank you for visiting.

The Cove… on Japanese tv

As I blogged previously (here and here), “The Cove” is a documentary movie made in English by an American filmmaker. One of the advisors to the movie was Ric O’Barry, a former dolphin trainer. Australia created a very popular TV drama series about a dolphin. The series was called “Flipper” and was popular not only in Australia but also in the US and in Britain (I remember watching it when I was a boy). The popularity of this show helps to explain, perhaps, the Australian outcry against the town of Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture, for its annual dolphin “hunt”, which is shown in the documentary.

Japan Probe, the blog which first alerted me to this movie, follows up with another blog entry: how does the Japanese media react to this? The dolphin hunt in Taiji began yesterday, and Ric O’Barry was there and he brought some foreign journalists to Taiji.

I was surprised to read that the dolphin meat is sold, and some of it is used in school lunches in Taiji. The filmmaker was concerned about this, as he believes that dolphin meat is high in mercury, a poisonous metal. This was in fact confirmed by two Taiji council members who had the meat tested, as I wrote in my previous blog entry The power of film.

The Japan Probe blog writer thinks that the Japanese tv report was “sympathetic to Taiji’s fishermen”. What do you think? And what do you think about the documentary “The Cove”, and about foreign protests against it?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Express your opinion! Let me know what you think of today's class, the written materials, the activities, the teacher's lecture, etc. Have a question about English or about today's class? Click the words "Leave a comment" below, or send me an email. Thank you for visiting.

The power of film

Following my blog about the Australian town of Broome and its decision to end its twin-relationship with Taiji in Wakayama as a result of a documentary movie made about the slaughter of dolphins that takes place in Taiji every year, JapanProbe tells us that anti-Japanese feeling has been growing because of this documentary.

The Australian media is reporting that there has been an surge of hate directed at Japanese people in Broome Shire, a town that had a sister city agreement with the Taiji, a town in Wakayama prefecture. Anger at Japan forced the town to dissolve its sister city agreement and now graveyards are being targeted

Below is a link to an “Open Letter to the People of Broom”. This letter is by the director of the movie “The Cove“, Louie Psihoyos. In the letter, Psihoyos points to another reason why the dolphin slaughter is a bad idea. If this is true, it is strange that it has not received more attention. Unless you think that dolphins are more important than humans.

The Cove exposes not just a horrific yearly hunt, but humans knowingly poisoning other humans by slipping dolphin meat into the food system. Dolphin meat is through-the-roof toxic because of high levels of mercury, the most toxic non-radioactive element in the world. Dolphins have anywhere from five to 5,000 times more mercury than allowed by law.

Despite this, the Taiji mayor and his council had a scheme in place to distribute toxic dolphin meat to school systems all over Japan. Ric O’Barry, his organization Earth Island Institute/Save Japan Dolphins and my organization Oceanic Preservation Society had a small hand in ending that dreadful scenario through the help of two Taiji councilmen, one of whom had children in the school system. They tested the meat and found it had more than a dozen times more mercury than allowed by Japanese law. They demanded the meat be removed from the school system.

The same website that posted the “Open Letter” also posts about Japanese newspapers picking up the story.

Japanese language newspapers reported on the dolphin slaughter in Taiji for the first time yesterday. Even though the Japan Times had previously covered the dolphin hunt in Taiji in its English language version, Japanese language papers have never reported it. The story that finally broke the barrier was the news that Broome Shire, Australia will break its sister city ties with Taiji because of the dolphin slaughter that takes place there each year.

This is a typical example of outside pressure, a concept called “gaiatsu” 外圧 in Japanese. It is well recognized as an effective strategy, because Japanese decision-making processes together with group dynamics, means that changes are difficult to effect. Given the “shame culture” of Japan, outside (i.e. foreign) pressure can often work to effect change more quickly, by using “shame”: “look at what other countries are saying about us! We had better do something!”

The article links to several Japanese-language articles, but the links are bad, except for this one.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Express your opinion! Let me know what you think of today's class, the written materials, the activities, the teacher's lecture, etc. Have a question about English or about today's class? Click the words "Leave a comment" below, or send me an email. Thank you for visiting.